UCLA, Stanford Win in Opening Round of Women's Water Polo Tourney -- April 27, 2002
LOS ANGELES, April 27. TOP-ranked and defending national champion UCLA romped to a 12-6 win over San Jose State in the opening round of action at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament yesterday afternoon here.
UCLA, 19-3 seeded third, raced to a 6-2 a halftime advantage over the Spartans and never looked back.
The Bruins will play traditional crosstown rival USC, 25-3, second-seeded, ranked third nationally and an 8-4 winner over San Diego State in its opening-round match, this afternoon in one semi-final matchup.
The other semi-final match will feature top-seeded and nationally second-ranked Stanford (29-1) against Cal. State Long Beach (19-11).
Stanford cruised to a 14-4 victory over Hawaii while the Long Beach 49ers, seeded fifth, upset fourth-seeded Cal, 8-7.
The Stanford match begins at 3 pm Pacific Daylight Time at the McDonald's Olympic Swim Stadium on the campus of USC, while the Bruin match immediately
follows (around 4:15PM).
The winners will meet for the MPSF Championship -- and the automatic bid into the NCAA Final Four Tournament to be held in two weeks, also at USC -- Sunday afternoon at 4:15.
UCLA and USC have met once this season, at SC several weeks ago, with UCLA winning a 9-8 thriller. A Trojan goal that would have tied the score at the end of regulation play was disallowed when it was ruled the shooter began her shot after the final whistle had sounded.
"They play differently than any other team we go against," said UCLA senior center Kelly Heuchan.
"Their players -- many of them -- are European, very
strong and very physical. We can't expect any calls from the officials."
"We want to come out and play the game of the year and have everything click for us," added her teammate, Robin Beauregard.
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In the Long Beach-Cal match, the 49ers -- panning for some Berkeley gold -- jumped off to a 3-2 first-quarter advantage on the strength of goals by Roberta Stewart and Drue Wawrzynski, and led at halftime, 5-4.
Long Beach upped the margin to 8-6 after three quarters and while Cal came back to outscore their 49er foe, 1-zip in the last period, the Bears' fate
had already been sealed.
Stewart was the game's top scorer with three goals and Wawrzynski and Angelica Garcias contributed a pair each. For Cal, Jodie Needles and Cara Chlebicki had two each.
In the Trojan-Aztec contest, after a scoreless first quarter SC took a 2-0 halftime lead, upped the margin to 5-2 after three quarters and outscored SDSU 3-2 in the last quarter for the win.
The Trojans were led by Nina Wengst and Sofia Konoukh's two goals each while four other players chipped in with a fgoal apiece. Aztec Casey Finnegan
was her team's top scorer with two goals.
In the Stanford-Hawai game, the Cardinal raced out to a 4-0 first-quarter lead and never looked back. A 9-1 halftime advantage rose to 13-2 after three periods of play and the final quarter was mostly for the sake of
Stanford's Margie Dingeldein led all scorers with four goals and teammate Brenda Villa, a sophomore ahd last season's NCAA Player of the Year, had three. Julie Gardner and Kelly Luber scored two each. Erin Kocher was the Rainbows' top scorer with two.
UCLA had no trouble with San Jose State's Spartans, parlaying a 6-2 halftime advantage into an easy 12-5 win. Four blue-and-gold goals in the second and
third periods sealed SJSU's doom.
Heuchan led the Bruin attack with four goals, three in the second quarter. Sophomore Natalie Golda scored a pair of goals in the third quarter and finished with three.
Goalie Jamie Hipp had five saves for the Bruins.
As that ad for the NBA playoffs says, "Win or Go Home."
-- Bill Bell